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'Weak leadership' on minimum alcohol pricing and British women will live shorter lives than other Europeans

A round-up of the morning’s health news headlines on Wednesday 13 March

Labour has accused the government of ‘weak leadership’ after it emerged plans for minimum pricing of alcohol in England and Wales may be dropped, the BBC reports.

Conservative ministers are split over the proposed 45p per unit price to tackle problem drinking, but the BBC understands that the plans now face opposition from within the Government.

Cabinet ministers including home secretary Theresa May, education secretary Michael Gove and Commons leader Andrew Lansley are said to oppose the move, which supporters such as prime minister David Cameron says would help reduce levels of alcohol-related illness and crime.

Tory MP and former GP Sarah Wollaston said: ‘To ditch this evidence-based measure would be a real tragedy’ while Labour said it would be a ‘humiliating climb-down’.

The Telegraph, brings us the news that British girls can expect to live shorter lives than many of their continental cousins, according to a World Health Organisation (WHO) report.

The UK is 19th on the list in Europe, lagging behind all major western European countries and others including Greece and Slovenia.

A Spanish girl born between 2006 and 2010 can expect to live to 85 - the longest in Europe - but British girls born at the same time can expect to die almost two and a half years sooner.

French women will live until they are 84.8 years old, Italian women until they are 84.5 years old and German women until they are 83.1.

As British women are among the fattest in Europe, with almost a quarter of British women so fat their health is suffering according to recent European Commission research, lifestyle is thought to account for some of the differences between countries in Western Europe.

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